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Toyota, Panasonic strike battery deal in threat to Tesla

USATODAY

Japanese car maker Toyota unveils a new humanoid robot that mirrors the movements of its remote operator, as Stuart McDill reports. Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda spoke at the company's earnings press conference in Tokyo on May 10. (Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation) Toyota reached a deal to explore a new battery partnership with Panasonic in a move that threatens to encroach on Tesla's territory, heightening the ongoing rivalry between the two automakers. Toyota and Panasonic said Wednesday that they are launching a "feasibility study" to investigate the technological potential of batteries that use prismatic cells, which are grouped together in pouches to power electric cars. The deal places Panasonic in the unusual position of straddling the technological and strategic divide between Toyota and Tesla. Panasonic already has a major partnership with Tesla to jointly manufacture a competing battery technology that relies on different batteries relying on cylindrical cells.


Investors are losing out on billions because tech stocks don't pay dividends

USATODAY

If Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook (along with Berkshire Hathaway) paid shareholder dividends at the 2.37% average yield of other S&P 500 companies that do so, it would shake out another $32.2 billion for investors, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices. How to choose a smart speaker More: Here's one way Google envisions search changing for you But don't expect these tech companies to pay a dividend anytime soon. "During the 1990s, tech didn't typically pay dividends and they drove the stock market back then," said Kim Forrest, senior equity analyst at Fort Pitt Capital. The S&P tech sector had a dividend yield of 1.36% during the third quarter, the lowest of the 11 sectors and well below the overall S&P 500 of 1.97%, according to Silverblatt.


Tesla eyes hurricane-ravaged Caribbean, could shape power grids

USATODAY

Tesla Motors announced its bid to buy SolarCity, a solar power company where Tesla CEO Elon Musk is also the top shareholder. A preliminary investigation has begun for a fatal car crash involving a Tesla Model S.According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the electric model sedan had Autopilot mode engaged when a driver was killed. Tesla shares are lower in Wednesday's trading session after the company's shareholder meeting revealed that not every Tesla car owner will have free access to the company's Superchargers. Shares of Tesla are moving lower in after-hours trading on Wednesday after the electric car maker said it would sell more stock to raise money to ramp up production of the Model 3.


Mark Zuckerberg praises universal basic income on Alaska trip

USATODAY

At Harvard 2017 commencement speech, Mark Zuckerberg said he wants to "explore ideas like universal basic income." Mark Zuckerberg is talking up universal basic income -- the guaranteed distribution of cash stipends to cover basic expenses -- as a possible new safety net as technology automates more jobs, putting more people out of work. SAN FRANCISCO -- Mark Zuckerberg is talking up universal basic income -- the guaranteed distribution of cash stipends to cover basic expenses -- as a possible new safety net as technology automates more jobs, putting more people out of work. In a Facebook post about a trip this week to Alaska with wife Priscilla Chan, the Facebook CEO praised the state's Permanent Fund, which pools the state's oil revenue and pays out cash dividends to eligible Alaskans.


Apple just got deeper into AR with purchase of eye-tracking tech firm

USATODAY

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple wants to make AR a reality. Three weeks after it unveiled ARKit, a new augmented reality developer kit that would help Apple app developers integrate this technology that overlays digital images on the physical world, and Apple CEO Tim Cook singed its praises, the company has acquired SensoMotoric Instruments, a German developer of eye-tracking movement technology. "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," the company said in an email statement. Longtime Apple analyst Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, believes the company could leverage AR for use in the home improvement and real estate industries.


BMW, Intel add Delphi to self-driving car alliance

USATODAY

German automaker BMW Group and U.S. tech giant Intel strengthened their self-driving car alliance with the addition of auto supplier Delphi, putting the companies a step closer to their goal of delivering an autonomous car by 2021. BMW and Intel said Tuesday that they had struck a deal to collaborate with Delphi on development and integration of self-driving car technology, with a particular emphasis "in the areas of perception, sensor fusion and high performance automated driving computing." The alliance comes after Delphi recently announced plans to split into two companies, with one focused on electrical systems for self-driving cars and the second focused on powertrains. But after Intel recently announced plans to acquire self-driving car tech powerhouse Mobileyefor $15 billion, the BMW-Intel-Delphi alliance can make a case for industry leadership.


Intel to acquire self-driving firm Mobileye for $15 billion

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Intel announced Monday it will acquire Mobileye in a deal worth about $15 billion, as the tech giant makes a deeper push into the growing self-driving vehicle market. In a statement, Intel says it plans to acquire Mobileye for $63.54 per share in cash. Intel says the deal will help accelerate innovation in the self-driving vehicle market, forecast to reach $70 billion by 2030. However, Intel is part of a crowded field of tech companies and automakers seeking to get their autonomous vehicles and self-driving systems on the road.


Alphabet misses on earnings, tops sales forecast

USATODAY

If you care about money, the economy and corporate America, earnings season matters. USA TODAY'S Matt Krantz breaks it down. Google parent Alphabet reported fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday. SAN FRANCISCO -- Google parent Alphabet topped analyst estimates with ongoing strength in mobile search and video advertising, but missed on earnings, sending shares down after hours. Alphabet reported fourth-quarter revenue of $26 billion, up 22% year over year, led by YouTube and mobile search, chief financial officer Ruth Porat said in a statement.


Google parent Alphabet earnings: What to watch

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Google parent Alphabet reports fourth-quarter earnings after the close on Thursday. SAN FRANCISCO -- Google parent Alphabet is scheduled to announce third-quarter earnings after the market closes Thursday. REVENUE FORECAST: Analysts expect revenue of $25.18 billion, excluding payments to advertising partners, up 18% from the year-ago period. EARNINGS FORECAST: Earnings, excluding some items, are expected to increase to $9.61 a share. MADE BY GOOGLE: Google is not new to hardware but in the fourth quarter it launched a major line-up of devices including the Pixel phone and Google Home, the home speaker.


The coolest concept cars from CES

USATODAY

With the rise in self-driving technology, the latest automobiles are grabbing more attention at The Consumer Electronics Show. Las Vegas – January 3, 2017 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles unveiled the Chrysler Portal Concept at CES 2017 today. While CES is an acronym for Consumer Electronics Show, the running joke at this annual Las Vegas event is that CES is turning into the Car Electronics Show. Many of the world's biggest auto makers have become a major part of this highly-publicized conference – which serves as a glimpse into the future of technology -- by dominating much of the North Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center, as well as surrounding facilities. And it doesn't seem to matter this Sin City event falls on the heels of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.